Mackay police Inspector Ian Haughton told journalists outside the fast food restaurant that “police did discharge some firearms” in an attempt to stop the man leaving the car park.
“Unfortunately that has been unsuccessful and that person has eluded police,” he said.
“When that occurred there has been some vehicles damaged because the person was in a vehicle at the time.”
Inspector Haughton said Hewitt might be armed and anyone who saw him should call triple zero.
He said the shots fired would be investigated internally as per standard protocol.
Inspector Haughton said police were involved in a car chase shortly after the incident but couldn’t confirm whether the two events were linked.
He said there were about 50 people in McDonald’s when the shots were fired outside and the staff would be offered counselling.
NOTE: This story has been updated to show the correct spelling of Zachariah Hewitt’s name after information from police.
Police have rushed to a central Queensland McDonald’s after reports of a gunman on the loose.
A customer ran into the Mackay McDonald’s just after 9.40am screaming that someone had a gun, an employee told Fairfax Media.
Shift manager Rossana Matheson said she heard one shot fired and a car outside the restaurant was damaged.
“I just heard a customer screaming and she said there is people with a shotgun outside and actually we heard the bang,” she said.
“So I put my workers into safety first and then rushed out to the telephone to call triple zero.”
She did not see the gunman but said customers told her a man was outside carrying a long gun, likely a shotgun.
“It’s (the store) not really locked up because we’ve got police everywhere but everything’s closed,” she said.
“There are no customers coming in.”
A witness, who didn’t give his name, he heard three shots.
“He was in a white Mitsubishi Magna,” he said.
“He came screaming out with a smashed-in windscreen and a smashed-in front of the car and cleaned up a couple of other cars in there and I think there was three shots fired.” Police were due to update local media about 11.40am.